Missouri cities dodge ‘100 Worst Cities’ list

Saturday, February 9, 2019

The annual list of the 100 Worst Cities in America is out this week and we can proudly acknowledge that no Missouri city made the list.

I read in great detail the similarities among the various cities and the common factor was always poverty.

Crime followed poverty and a lack of job opportunities and a lack of education also combined to determine the list.

Most of the cities on the list came from — wait for it — California. Also prominent on the list were much smaller communities in the South, all highly impoverished.

Detroit, which has long had a terrible reputation, did indeed make the list but it was about midway on the misery index. And Detroit was also the largest city to make the list.

East St. Louis, Ill., also made the list, again because of the high, high crime and the high poverty.

I was somewhat shocked that the usual suspects — Chicago, Baltimore, New York, etc. — did not make the list. In fact, most the the communities were smaller than Sikeston.

It makes you wonder why someone would live in a community with a 49.5 percent unemployment rate. But the answer is poverty. These residents have no other option to move because of their economic situation.

We constantly talk, especially in political circles, on the topic of poverty. It could be argued that poverty is the singular issue that defines much of our political discussion.

But we never dig deeper into the issue of poverty because to do that honest research would open discussions that we want to avoid as a society.

Our nation — more specifically our taxpayers — have poured literally trillions of dollars into programs to lift the lowest income population up the economic ladder.

And by any judgement, those trillions have had little impact.

Yet today, politicians expand on their calls for even more government spending to counter poverty despite massive evidence that past policies have failed.

It goes without saying that poverty is not a choice. But all too often, a lack of personal responsibility is at the heart of poverty and dependency is at the heart of an emerging lifestyle.

If you could somehow magically lift every single person out of poverty, the sad reality is that in short order, some would return to the very same situations they were in the past.

Lifting yourself up the economic ladder is an opportunity available to every single resident of America. But that heavy lifting takes effort and sacrifice. And some are simply unwilling to make that effort.

One unnamed political party believes the answer is more government dependency. The solution, so they believe, is to level the playing field by taking away from the earners and giving it to those in need.

But that philosophy ignores decades and decades of clear evidence that the solution does not lie with more government intervention but rather with cultural and personal changes.

Rejoice that Missouri cities dodged the bullet on this terrible list.

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